There… I said it… The American Dream is a bunch of bullshit. The dream that you can work towards something, achieve great success, and then hang up your hat and drink Mai Tai’s on the beach on some remote island for the rest of your life, is bullshit.
“But wait Josh. The American Dream is what America is built on. It’s how we got our start.” Okay maybe… but… how has that worked out for you? Are you living the dream? Are you on the beach chillin with your feet in the sand everyday?
This idea that you can work hard for a short period of time in your life and then kick back and do nothing for the rest of it, is the biggest sham I’ve ever heard or seen.
This is one of the biggest problems with our past, current, and upcoming generations. The thought that we can make one social media post and go viral, we can scratch one lottery ticket and be a millionaire, we can start one business and then sit back and let the cash roll in, we can go hard ONE TIME and then the rest of life is going to be cake.
Bullshit. This is not how life works.
How many times do you hear of someone who won the lottery and then they are broke two years later? How many one hit wonder artists have you never heard from again? How many viral posts lined someone’s pockets for three or four decades? None. Not any of them. This is why the American Dream is a lie. This is not how you achieve anything worth achieving.
Trying to go hard one time is not going to get the job done. If you want to achieve something, if you want to hit your weight loss goals, start your own business, accomplish a massive goal… you better be ready to put in the work every… single… day…
Success exists in those that go hard every day. No matter how much money they rake in, no matter how many championships they win, no matter how much fame and success they achieve, the best of the best go at it every day. No excuses.
Abandon this lie that if you dream enough it will all come true. That if you get lucky, one day, you’ll go viral, land a big contract, and be set. Throw this idea away. If you want to do something bigger, if you want to accomplish something, you need to understand that you are in it for life.
If you want to lose weight, you best understand that you will have to change for the rest of your life. You will have to diet and exercise every day. It will have to become a part of you.
If you want to be a writer, you best understand that you will have to write every single day. You will have to MAKE TIME, sit down, and do the work, every day.
If you want to be rich, you best understand that you’re going to have to get up and Out Hustle every other person in industry, every damn day.
My advice is to stop dreaming, stop thinking you’re going to get lucky with a little bit of work and that you’re going to be able to hang up your hat for the rest of your life. If you want to get some where you’re going to have to get up and go to work over and over and over. And it starts with Little Consistent Victories that you win, every… single… day…
Ahhhh… youth sports… the best place to find one generation ruining sports for the next. The only place you’ll find parents slugging it out over whether or not the teenage umpire made the right call at home plate. The number one place to find parents living out their unfulfilled dreams through their children. Too bad we don’t get this fired up about our kids education…
But really, this isn’t what youth sports is. These are outliers and rare occurrences. Most games are actually much more boring than this… I know because I’ve been to about 167123,123431245,21354 tee ball games…
Youth Sports is so much more than any of that though. Youth sports is one of the best opportunities to teach your children a number of highly valuable life lessons. You see while they’re at school, your child’s life lessons are coming from the world. From their teachers, from their classmates, and from their experiences that you’re not a part of. And these are good as well but you really don’t have any say if your kid learns to pick his nose in kindergarten or comes home from 2nd grade and asks what a ‘vagina’ is because he heard some other kid say it at recess….
That’s just life and you just have to get over it. But sports, and specifically youth sports, provides a huge opportunity for you to actually get in and get involved with your child’s growth. Not as an athlete but as a strong, resilient, highly motivated individual. No I’m talking about screaming at your kid from the sideline because he dropped a pass on 4th and 3. That’s not it. Don’t be that person…
What I’m talking about is teaching your children how to grow on their own and how to handle adversity. These two key points are infinitely valuable in living a happy, successful life. Let’s take a look at why each of these two points is valuable in it’s own regard.
Let’s First talk about adversity as I feel it’s more valuable and beneficial to our mental health in the long run. FacingAdversity is the ability to over-come incredible challenges that are presented to us by life. I say incredible because most the time, we don’t truly face adversity. Having a tough day at work is not adversity. Getting bullied everyday at school is. Adversity is facing something that has no clear cut answer or solution. Adversity is a challenge that makes others question if it’s even possible to over-come.
Youth sports provides one of the best training grounds to teach your children how to deal with and over-come adversity. When they lose, when they strike out, when they make a mistake, when they try hard but still lose… each of these moments, in our children’s eyes, is adversity. And because it’s on a level that is relatable to our children it’s the perfect opportunity to start teaching them how to deal with that.
So how do we actually do that? How do we teach them to handle and over-come this adversity? It’s two-fold, or as I like to say, it’s Good Cop, Bad Cop. We first need to provide positive reinforcement. At that first moment of failure no kid, teenager, adult, or person wants to hear any criticism. So first things first, let’s get our mindset in a positive place. I do this by just following up with my kids and saying, “Hey good try buddy.” That’s it… it’s that simple. And it can be more than that but it honestly doesn’t take much to set the right tone.
Now one of two things happens after this. Your child accepts the failure and moves on OR they hang on to it, they don’t let go of it, and they dwell on it. They pout or throw a fit. They cry or complain… and this is where it gets tough but it’s also where you have to be the Bad Cop.
This is where you have to come in and say, “look, we’ve still got a lot of game to play. We’ve got other opportunities and a chance to try again. We are NOT going to sit here and dwell on this.” And as children they may or may not respond to this. We have to remember we’re dealing with children that can’t always make themselves make the right choice. Shit as adults how many times do we make the right choice?
So keeping it in mind that we are dealing with someone who is, by nature, very immature we then have to help them make the decision for themselves. If they are still dwelling, still pouting, still throwing a fit because they struck out or because they lost. Now is the time to remove them from the situation. Literally, pick them up, tell coach BRB, and go sit in the car. Let them vent, throw down, cry, whatever they’ve got to do. And when they’re ready, when they’ve gathered themselves back up. Ask them, “Are you ready to go back out and try again?”
If you repeat this process. If you stick to it and stay on it, your child will learn how to deal with adversity. They will start to learn that just because something bad happens doesn’t mean life is over. It doesn’t mean I have to let 10 seconds of my day ruin the other 24 hours. It also teaches them to first respond to adversity with positivity. This is what your teaching your child. You’re teaching them the process to over-coming adversity. Positivity first. And if that’s not good enough, take a break from the situation and when you’re ready, go try again.
The Second opportunity you have to teach your children is how to grow on their own. At a young age, this isn’t very realistic so it’s important that as parents we serve as coaches towards this end goal. We do this be coaching our kids up. Once our kids are able to over-come their loses and adversity you can start to teach them how to grow from those moments. All you really need to do to accomplish this is to be involved. It’s so easy to walk up to your child in the dugout and say, “Hey great play on defense buddy you were right there. Next time let’s try to get our glove all the way down into the dirt and stop that ball, okay?”
And if you repeat this. You do this over and over and over in a positive, growth oriented manner your children will grow. They’ll improve and even better, they’ll learn the process of growth. They’ll learn that it’s really all about hard work and practice. It’s about doing it over and over and over. That’s all it is.
So get your kids into youth sports. Get them out their competing, facing adversity, winning, losing, growing, learning, getting exercise and get yourself involved. Be positive and focus on taking advantage of this short time you’ll get to spend with your kids in Youth Sports.
When I started on this journey to push to the next level of my life I knew where I wanted to go. I knew what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to get healthier. I knew I wanted to get stronger. I knew I wanted to write. I knew I wanted to read more. I knew I wanted to work harder. I knew I wanted to achieve more.
I knew I wanted to push more and more and more and more, not just to live a good life, but a great life. It wasn’t enough for me to be comfortable. It wasn’t enough for me to be just marginally successful. I felt that I need to maximize my own potential. So I hungered up.
I set out to figure out how other great people were living their lives and started taking bits and pieces from them and putting it into my life. This research and the subsequent changes in my life are where most of my blog posts have come from.
And I knew that I wanted to share these experiences because if I just did this quietly, to myself, I wouldn’t stay motivated. If my reasons were selfish, then I’d be Missing the Point. But if I could make it bigger than myself. If I could be honest and open about the work and open myself up for criticism, I could push farther.
And so far it’s worked. I’ve quit smoking, I just put in a 4 mile run. I was up at 4 am, I’ve made breakfast, I’m writing this post, and I’ll go hit the weights before I take my kids to school and clock into work.
At first glance that sounds insane. Three or four weeks ago I would have looked at that list and said, “there’s no way I can do that” OR, “oh maybe I could do that over the next couple of months I could slowly ease into this new lifestyle” And that attitude, that mindset, is exactly why I’d never done any of those things before. The biggest killer I’ve had in working towards any of my goals was that I was managing my expectations.
It’s also one of the first things a lot of people said to me when I shared this with them.
“Don’t burn yourself out”
“Don’t expect that you can be like some of those other people”
“Some people just have a better advantage”
Whether it was myself or someone else, there was always a voice putting a cap on my potential. I’ve been just as guilty of it as well. I’ve told myself, “today I’ll just do this little bit” and “tomorrow I’ll do that part, today I’m just going to do this” and “okay I did enough, I can take a break now.”
I was always trying to tell myself that by just doing a little tiny bit, that it was going to be good enough. Not great, but good enough. And the truth is… it was never good enough. Complacency and being comfortable is not how we’re meant to live. It’s very much in our nature to push and push to the next level.
The greatest human beings in our lives are those who came from terrible backgrounds but had the drive to say, “I am going to do the most.” Our most successful athletes, actors and actresses, politicians, scientists, business owners, and community servants never put a cap on what they could achieve. None of them managed expectations.
Martin Luther King Jr didn’t just say, “oh I did some good this week in my neighborhood so I’m gonna kick back and have a few beers.”
Steve Jobs didn’t say, “great we made an iPod, let’s go on vacation and plan retirement.”
Tom Brady didn’t win just one Super Bowl and then retire from the game.
Michael Jordan didn’t get MVP one time and then coast the rest of his career.
Great people don’t manage expectations and you shouldn’t either. Don’t set your goals and put a limit on what you want to achieve. If you want to get in better shape, set your ultimate goal, and then plan your routine around what you need to do to reach that goal.
If you have a goal to make a $1,000 dollars in sales what’s your work ethic going to look like compared to if you have a goal to get $10,000 dollars in sales? Ask yourself that question. What’s your work ethic have to be like if you HAVE to achieve greatness?
Don’t Manage Expectations. Don’t put a limit on what you can do in a single day. The Pursuit of Happiness doesn’t have a great moment because Chris Gardner’s character tells his son not to waste his time with basketball. It has a great moment because he tells his son he can do anything, no matter how big the dream. That is how you achieve.
It’s December 31st, you’re counting down as the ball drops on the New Year and you’re telling yourself, “Tomorrow, I’m going to get up and go to the Gym. It’s a New Year and a new me!”
Tomorrow comes, you’re pumped up, you’re excited. You pack up, head to the gym and get a great workout in. It powers you through the day and into the next!
The next day you wake up and you’re starting to feel a little sore… But that’s okay, you get up and you head to the gym again. Another great workout in the books!
The third day comes around and DAMN are you feeling sore today. Those last two work outs kicked your ass and you know what? You did so good you say, “I earned a day of rest” and you take the day off.
The fourth day rolls around and you’re still sore. You say, “shit.. I’m still not fully recovered. I’m going to take one more day of rest.” And then the fifth day comes around… and the sixth day… the seventh…
And in one week. That new you is gone. Back to sleeping in. Back to skipping the gym.
This happens every single year, for thousands of people. And we see memes and jokes about these people, right? We see, “Brace Yourself!” memes because we all know that first week of the gym is going to be packed and we all know a few days from then it’ll be all cleared up and only the few will remain.
It’s amazing how many people can get fired up, inspired, and motivated to a level that they are willing to change their entire daily routine but they can’t close the deal. It’s amazing how many people can have a great new App idea, the next Best Seller idea, write a few pages or code a few lines and then quit.
It’s amazing how we can be so motivated to QUIT.
So I’ve been on this mission to figure out why. Why are we like this? What is it about our human nature that puts us right on this path with everything that we do? And how is it that some people don’t suffer from this sickness? How are some people living great lives, getting in great shape, making six figures, making a difference in the world?
And when I really dug in and I started looking at what some of the differences are between these people, it’s simple. It’s so simple that we just over-look why we’re not accomplishing our goals. Why we give up….
The reality of the situation is that your motivators are shit. You’re reasons for wanting to get in shape, or for wanting to be more successful, or wanting to work harder are a joke. It’s why you’re able to start up a great new goal and then give up the first time it gets hard.
You see quitting is a habit. And when we start quitting, when we grow up and our parents let us quit because its hard or because it’s not what we thought it was, we carry this with us into adulthood. And then when our job doesn’t workout like we want, we quit. When our workout gets hard, we quit. When our marriage gets tough, we quit. And millions of us are quitters.
And there’s only one real way to change this. You have to learn to be a CLOSER.
A Closer is someone whose specialty isn’t starting new projects but closing them out. A Closer comes in and finishes strong. A closer doesn’t give up, a closer doesn’t quit, a closer closes the deal. They get it done. They push and push and push until it’s done. When you become a Closer, your life changes. When you tell yourself it’s not about starting that new workout, it’s about closing on that work out, your whole perspective changes.
And if you need help becoming that Closer. If you’re not sure how to be that person that crosses the finish line, take a look at your Why’s.
For a long time I’ve personally struggled with motivation and reaching the goals I really wanted in life. I never had a hard time picking something up and getting started though. I could design the best strategy, come up with the best plan, and get a huge start on achieving my goal… for a day or two…
And then I would fail… I would fall off, make an excuse, or life would throw a challenge my way and it would be enough for me to allow myself to sit back down and take a break. Any real progress I was making in life was a result of these short bursts, these small sprints of effort. And while these sprints were getting me places, they weren’t getting me anywhere for long.
Sure I could give up soda for a day or two, but then I’d cave on a weekend. I could get my workout in once or twice a week, but I couldn’t do it every day. I could work on my side project, until I hit a difficult bug that I couldn’t figure out. I could accomplish things, it was just taking me a lifetime to make it happen.
So I’ve been on this journey to figure out why I can’t reach my goals faster. I’ve been trying to figure out why I can get started, get all fired up, and then let my flame burnout. So I looked a lot of places, read a lot of books, and did a tonne of research, but I still couldn’t find the right answer. Until I started looking in the right places.
You see, the question I was asking was, “How do you achieve your goals?” and I was asking this question openly to the world (aka I was Googling shit). What I was finding was the next new productivity fad, the next “Top 10 Things Successful People Do” list and “3 Traits of High Achievers.” These quick fix articles and bullet list posts, that are quick to read and make it seem so easy if I just do these 10 things, weren’t getting the job done.
I realized that I needed to change the question I was asking, or better yet, who I was asking. I shifted my target so instead of asking others how to achieve my goals, I started looking for others who had already achieved great things and I started asking, “What did they do?“
This profoundly changed my approach to my daily life. When I started looking into what highly successful people were really doing I found one dominant trait that was leading them to success. That one trait was Competitiveness.
The top achievers of the world are all living their lives as if the next person is coming along to take their next meal out from under them. And for some, this reality is actually true. Professional Athletes, CEO’s, and Community Leaders are all living this way because it is their reality. But it’s also what is giving them an incredible boost to their drive and motivation. When you wake up, knowing you have to Outwork your Competition if your going to keep living the life you have, you see things differently.
So how can we take this level of competition and apply it to our own lives? Is there really someone out there trying to take our spot? Are we really sitting at 1st string and the 2nd stringer is coming up right behind us? Are we really in a race but hearing the footsteps of our competition right behind us? Fuck yes we are!
This is the reason we aren’t achieving at our highest potential. It’s the reason we’re so often unsatisfied and bored, with life. It’s the reason we’re living for the weekend and dreading the week. We’ve become satisfied and lazy and just because we don’t have someone right in our face challenging us, reminding us that they are coming for us, doesn’t mean we can’t work that way.
What we need to do is really see who our competition is. Whose out there that’s already better than us at something we want to accomplish? If you want to lose weight, who do you already know or see that’s getting it done? Is it a friend? Is it someone you see on Social Media? Is it Tony on P90X showing you what’s up? Who out there is kicking your ass right now?
Find this person, and compete with them! Let them be the one that’s showing you how to get it done and then go after them! Don’t think about if you can do it or how you’ll do it. Don’t make excuses that they had a head start or that they had a better starting position in the race. The point isn’t to finish the race, it’s to Compete in the race.
If you think, that once you reach your goal, once you lose the weight and get in shape that you’re going to be done. That you can then stop working out and not end right back up where you started. That the race is over and you’ve crossed the finish line, you’re wrong. If you’re only focused on the finish line and once you reach it you stop, your fat ass is going to relapse. It’s not about the finish line, it’s not about winning, it’s about Competing.